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The Employee Ownership Update

Loren Rodgers

July 1, 2013

(Loren Rodgers)

UK to Celebrate Employee Ownership Day

In recognition of the flurry of employee ownership activity in the UK, in terms of both legislation and new business, the UK's Employment Relations and Consumer Minister Jo Swinson announced that July 4 will be Employee Ownership Day. The Minister noted that the day would "showcase the wide range of successful employee ownership models" and their impact on productivity, employee turnover, and business resilience. Employee Ownership day has its own logo, Web site, Twitter feed, and much more.

The Supreme Court, Gay Marriage, and ERISA

In U.S. v Windsor, the Supreme Court struck down the ban on same-sex marriages in the Defense of Marriage Act. The decision will affect the administration of ERISA-qualified retirement plans, such as ESOPs, for employees in the 12 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized same-sex marriages. Writing in CFO magazine, David McCann suggests that the cost to employers from the Supreme Court's decision is "expected to be modest and certainly won't be at a level that could be considered material."

Support for Employee Ownership in Colorado

The Rocky Mountain Employee Ownership Center (RMEOC), an organizational member of the NCEO, has been actively promoting employee ownership in Colorado. On June 25 and 26, it hosted NCEO founder Corey Rosen for a series of meetings with State Representative Angela Williams (D-Denver), the chair of the Business, Labor, Economic and Labor Committee; Chris Martinez of the Denver Department of Economic Development; and Debbie Ortega of the Denver City Council. All three enthusiastically agreed to work on ways to get the state and city to make business owners more aware of employee ownership as a succession planning tool.

Seminars were also held for members of the Denver Bar Association and the Chamber of Commerce, while meetings with leaders of other local business organizations resulted in promises to make their members more aware of worker cooperatives and ESOPs.

Oxford Offers Online Course on Employee Ownership

Oxford University's Department for Continuing Education will offer a 10-week online course titled Employee Ownership for the 21st Century. The course aims to provide a mix of theory and practice, and will make extensive use of case studies, including "Huawei the giant Chinese telecommunications giant; John Lewis the iconic UK high street retailer; [and] Mondragon Cooperative Corporation the international manufacturer in Spain."

Ownership Thinking Conference

The seventh annual Ownership Thinking Conference will be held October 17 and 18 in Englewood, CO. The NCEO is a sponsor of this conference, which helps companies create systems that engage employees by driving accountability and purpose in their work. Founder Brad Hams wrote the book Ownership Thinking. NCEO members will receive a discounted rate through July 15. Learn more here or register by contacting Ownership Thinking (Carmen@ownershipthinking.com or 303-984-1434) and mentioning that you are an NCEO member.

DOL to Host Seminars on Fiduciary Responsibilities

The Department of Labor will host two seminars, one in San Diego, CA on July 23 and one in Fairfax, VA on August 6. Topics include understanding fiduciary responsibilities, selecting and monitoring service providers, and avoiding prohibited transactions.

Academy of Management Includes Focus on Employee Ownership

The annual conference of the Academy of Management will include three sessions on employee ownership. The conference (August 9-13, 2013, in Lake Buena Vista, FL) will have sessions on shared entrepreneurship, employee ownership as a model appropriate across the economy, and a discussion of the film We the Owners.

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